Gemma's Type 1 Diabetes Diagnosis,
told by Dad "Sid"
Gemma had just won a local Irish Dancing Feis and we were so proud of her. Weeks before that her Irish dancing teachers were concerned she was lacking energy and we noticed she was drinking more. In hindsight she was suffering and the effort she put in to win that competition must have been huge.
The matter of fact tone from an elderly doctor, who had done this too many times, echoed in our ears but never registered fully.
What was he saying? Injections? Life? No Cure!
We rushed out of that room to cuddle our daughter and from that moment our lives changed direction.
We were taught in the hospital how to use needles, (no pens then) that we had to push into the beautiful skin of our innocent little daughter? At first it was terrifying, would we harm her if we did not get all the air bubbles out, how could we do this day in day out? but our child needed us to be strong and so you learn and you learn fast.
You become experts to the extent you are educating young doctors on the monthly diabetic check ups. You can read about it but life is the real tutor. But it was Gemma's courage, and not ours, that to this day fills me with wonder and pride. Not once did our little Gem cry or moan, she knew this had to be done and her strength gave us ours.
She progressed through her schooling years. The ratio of diabetics then, ( much higher now) was 600/1. Gemma was the only diabetic in her school of 600, cruel odds to favour us. By the time she was 12 she felt ready to take on the injections herself. Her teenage years were quite eventful, we were warned to look out for the rebellious period when teenagers just want to be like their peers. Who could blame her. Even a sleepover was fraught with anxiety.
On one such occasion I got an early morning call from a hysterical mother that Gemma had collapsed. I rushed over to find her covered in blood. She'd had a hypo and on waking up, she fell out of bed hitting her head on the floor.
I used an emergency injection of glucose that I carried to bring her round. We discovered Gem had not been keeping to her strict regime but after that incident she never wavered. The rest is beautiful history.
She found in Evan the perfect partner, an understanding, strong, calm man who complimented her and she him. They gave us another Gemma, a minimee angel called Chloe.
Gemma's devoted Dad
Gemma and Chloe
This picture is of Gemma's family unit when Gemma was same age
as her daughter Chloe is now !